Bezuinigen en wie is de dupe …

In mijn vorige column over de gezondheidszorg heb ik al aangegeven dat de zorginstellingen en –verzekeraars samen ruim twaalf miljard reserves opgepot hebben. Tevens gaf ik aan dat in de speeltuin van de rechtse Rutte regering (RRR) echt met de botte bijl gehakt wordt en dit gaat nog verder toenemen; let op Prinsjesdag en de troonrede.

Kijkt u wel eens naar de factuur van uw ziekenfonds of de kleine lettertjes op de polis?  Ik heb weer zo’n discussie lopen met mijn ziekenfonds en afgelopen week wisten ze me te vertellen dat er een wettelijk eigen risico is van € 350 per persoon, naast het eigen risico dat afgesloten moest worden bij het aangaan van de polis. Betekent dus voor een gezin van een man en vrouw: beide wettelijk eigen risico van € 350, samen € 700. Stel de man was eerder verzekerd en heeft een eigen risico van € 100 en zijn vrouw kwam er later bij en heeft een eigen risico van € 250. Al bij elkaar ruim duizend euro eigen risico, voordat de verzekering gaat meebetalen. Echter elke maand moet wel de premie betaald worden van bijna 200 euro. Omgerekend ‘kost’ de ziekenfonds dus  bijna € 2400, waarbij als iemand iets nodig heeft, toch nog € 1000 bijkomt. Betaalbare ziekenzorg hoor ik iemand zeggen? Als men niet ziek wordt, dan betaalt dit gezin € 2400 per jaar voor een premie, die men dat jaar niet heeft gebruikt. Misschien zou het verstandig zijn om een systeem van schadevrij of ziektevrij te gaan introduceren. Tenslotte hoeft de speeltuin van Markie Mark “maar zes miljard” extra  te bezuinigen en dat zouden de zorginstellingen en –verzekeraars als aandelen aan dit kabinet kunnen verstrekken.

Het weekend werd mij nieuws bekend gemaakt over de ouderenzorg in mijn geboorteplaats Gilze en Rijen. Gilze en Rijen is een Brabantse gemeenten met twee dorpen: Rijen en Gilze en twee kerkdorpen: Molenschot en Hulten. Volgens het CBS had de gemeente op 1 mei 2013 iets meer dan 26.000 inwoners en in het weekend kwam ik er achter dat alleen Rijen al vijf (lees: 5) verzorgingshuizen heeft en niet van die kleintjes. Een van die verzorgingshuizen is pas gebouwd, nog geen jaar geleden. Dit kan je zien, want er staan nog steeds kamers / woningen te huur; tevens winkelruimte die onder de woonruimtes zijn ingedeeld. Echter de ouderen moeten van omringende plaatsen gevraagd worden om daar te komen wonen.
Een bewoner in de straat, die tegenover deze kolos woont – in een soort aanleunwoning – wist te vertellen dat de gemiddelde huurprijs, voor men ging bouwen, ca. € 650 zou zijn geweest, echter voordat de eerste bewoners hun intrek konden nemen, was de huurprijs al met € 180 verhoogd. Dit werd weggewoven met de opmerking “wettelijke huurverhoging”. Bij navraag bleek dat de gemiddelde huurprijs momenteel op € 1000 per woning zou staan. Duizend euro voor een ouderenwoning met een kamer, een slaapkamer en een keuken, waarbij men in het achterhoofd moet houden dat dit de kale huur is. Tot overmaat van ramp – en nu komt het – waren de bewoners verplicht om de ondergrondse garage te huren, ook als men geen auto had.

Bezuinigen meneer Rutte? Houd er eens  een keer mee op of wees een kerel en doe dat bij de groep mensen die het echt kunnen betalen, neem eens wat meer VVD-stemmers. Maar blijf van onze ouders af. U moest zich schamen, oudere mensen op deze manier te pakken en dan komt u ook nog met de bezuiniging op de pensioenen. Walgelijk is dat ! Mensen die meer dan veertig jaar zich in hebben gezet om wat van Nederland te maken, sterker nog om wat van u te maken; dat u op dat blauwe pluche kan vast blijven plakken, heeft u in feite aan deze ouderen te danken. En wat doet u: de ouderen het hardst pakken. Onze ouders krijgen stank voor dank.

© KhamakarPress

Het bloedbad van Sabra en Shatila

By Engelbert Luitsz        ©       (http://www.alexandrina.nl/?p=2491)

sabra_palestina_150913

Het opschrift luidt: Dit is het kerkhof van de martelaren van Sabra en Shatila
(met dank aan Hiba Al-Ali)

Op 16 september 1982 werd er een bloedbad aangericht in de vluchtelingenkampen Sabra en Shatila in Libanon. In deze kampen bij Beiroet zaten vooral Palestijnen. In twee dagen werden een paar duizend ongewapende burgers op beestachtige wijze afgeslacht door christelijke milities met hulp van het Israëlische leger. De toenmalige minister van Defensie van Israël, Ariel Sharon, had de kampen in West-Beiroet eerder laten omsingelen. Toen er niemand meer in of uit kon stuurde Sharon de falangisten naar binnen in de avond van 16 september, waarbij het Israëlische leger ervoor zorgde dat er niemand kon ontsnappen en de moordenaars met lichtkogels bijlichtte.

Twee dagen eerder was de net verkozen christelijke president Bashir Gemayel gedood bij een bomaanslag en dat werd gebruikt als “rechtvaardiging” voor de slachtpartij. Er werd gelogen over het feit dat Palestijnse militanten achter de bomaanslag zouden zitten, terwijl die er helemaal niets mee te maken hadden. Maar Sharon zat nooit om een leugentje verlegen als het ging om het vermoorden van Palestijnen.

De journalist Robert Fisk was een van de eerste buitenlandse waarnemers die de kampen bezochten. De slachting had tot 18 september acht uur ‘s morgens geduurd en om tien uur ging Fisk kijken. Hij had al vele jaren ervaring in het Midden-Oosten en had de meest vreselijke dingen meegemaakt, maar wat hij hier zag was erger dan hij ooit gezien had. Honderden ongewapende mensen die neergeschoten waren.

… daar lagen vrouwen in huizen met hun rokken omhooggetrokken en hun benen uiteen, kinderen van wie de keel was doorgesneden, rijen jonge mannen die in de rug waren geschoten nadat ze tegen een muur waren gezet. Er waren baby’s – zwarte baby’s omdat ze 24 uur eerder waren afgeslacht en hun lichaampjes reeds tekenen van ontbinding vertoonden – die op een hoop waren gegooid naast afgedankte Amerikaanse legerrantsoenen, Israëlisch militair materieel en lege whiskyflessen.

Hij ziet jongens van 12 of 13 jaar oud die gecastreerd zijn, er ligt een zwangere vrouw wier buik is opengereten met een mes. En Fisk weet direct al dat er gesproken zal worden over een “incident”, omdat Israël achter de gruwelen zat en omdat de slachtoffers Palestijnen waren. “Wanneer is ietsgeen bloedbad?”, vraagt hij zich af. “Als de aantallen te laag zijn? Of als ze zijn uitgevoerd door Israëls vrienden?”

Als Syrische troepen Israël waren binnendrongen, een kibboets hadden omsingeld en hun Palestijnse bondgenoten naar binnen hadden gestuurd om de joodse inwoners af te slachten, zou geen enkel westers persbureau tijd verliezen met zich af te vragen of we te maken hadden met een bloedbad.

sabra shatila

De genocidewet

Het leek zo’n prachtig initiatief: België zou het mogelijk maken verantwoordelijken van oorlogsmisdaden voor de rechter te brengen, waar ze zich ook bevonden. De wet dateert uit 1993, maar werd in 2003 ingrijpend gewijzigd toen onverlaten het waagden Amerikaanse en Israëlische oorlogsmisdadigers aan te klagen. Het was prima dat er wat Rwandese nonnen voor de rechter moesten verschijnen, maar de gedachte dat mensen als George Bush sr., Colin Powell of Ariel Sharon* zich aan de wet zouden moeten houden is natuurlijk bespottelijk.

Alles is te koop

Om België onder druk te zetten werd er gedreigd het hoofdkwartier van de NAVO te verplaatsen naar een ander land. Dat zou een enorme economische en politieke strop zijn voor onze zuiderburen. Het waren wederom de ususal suspects Donald Rumsfeld en Colin Powell die hiermee dreigden. België bond in en bepaalde dat er in het vervolg een link met België moest zijn om iemand te kunnen aanklagen.

Israël als slachtoffer

In een sessie van de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties op 16 december 1982 werd het bloedbad veroordeeld en werd vastgesteld dat het hier een genocide betrof. Het zou me niet verbazen als Israël zelf achter deze formulering zat, want dat was koren op de molen van hun juridische kanonnen, hun hooizakken. Canada reageerde meteen met te zeggen dat genocide hiervoor niet de passende term was, de Verenigde Staten waren verontwaardigd over het verkeerde gebruik van de term, en de bekende corrupte brigade aan politici, journalisten, advocaten en wat al niet wrong zich in allerlei bochten om aan te tonen dat de VN-resolutie bedoeld was om Israël te schaden, niet om recht te doen aan de slachtoffers.

Ariel Sharon

De Israëlische regering was niet van plan Sharon verantwoordelijk te houden voor wat er was gebeurd. Hij kon van premier Begin gewoon aanblijven. Pas na een grote demonstratie, georganiseerd door de vredesbeweging Peace Now, waarbij de vredesactivist Emil Grunzweig door een joodse rechts-extremist met een granaat werd vermoord , werd een “compromis” gesloten. Sharon zou aftreden als minister van Defensie, maar zou in de Knesset blijven als minister zonder portefeuille. De commissie Kahan had al vastgesteld dat Sharon persoonlijk verantwoordelijk was voor de gebeurtenis, maar desondanks kreeg hij later verschillende ministerposten en schopte hij het in 2001 zelfs tot minister-president, nadat hij in 2000 met zijn bezoek aan de Al-Aqsamoskee, vergezeld door 1000 militairen, de aanzet had gegeven voor de Tweede Intifada**. Daarmee ondermijnde hij het leiderschap van Ehud Barak, die dan ook de verkiezingen verloor.

Toen Time Magazine in 1983 een artikel plaatste over Sharons medeplichtigheid aan het bloedbad van Sabra en Shatila, eiste de verontwaardigde crimineel 50 miljoen dollar van de krant. Hij verloor die zaak, die in de Verenigde Staten voor de rechter kwam en – helaas voor hem – niet in Israël.

De oorlogsmisdaden van Sharon gaan terug tot de jaren vijftig van de vorige eeuw. In 1953 richtte hij de beruchte Unit 101 op, een doodseskader dat gespecialiseerd was in massamoorden op ongewapende burgers. Eind 1953 heeft hij bijvoorbeeld tijdens een inval op de Westelijke Jordaanoever 66 onschuldige burgers afgeslacht in het dorpje Qibya.

Zo word je dus minister-president in Israël. En onze politici blijven maar geloven dat de Palestijnen dwarsliggen.

Begin, Sharon, generaal Rafael Eitan en alle andere betrokkenen gingen en gaan nog steeds vrijuit. De extremist die Emil Grunzweig vermoordde kreeg 27 jaar cel. Altijd handig om dat soort lui achter de hand te hebben, nietwaar? Zie je wel dat Israël een democratische rechtsstaat is?

Het bloedbad van Sabra en Shatila was onderdeel van een grotere campagne, genaamd Vrede voor Galilea, waarbij  aan Libanees-Palestijnse zijde zo’n 20.000 doden vielen, voor het overgrote deel burgers, en ruim 30.000 gewonden. Aan Israëlische kant sneuvelden ruim 1000 soldaten.
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4FGijoJ3fl0

 * Elie Hobeika, de commandant van de falangisten tijdens het bloedbad, had in 2002 contact gehad met de Belgische Vincent van Quickenborne, omdat Hobeika wilde getuigen tegen Ariel Sharon. Twee dagen later werd hij vermoord met een autobom.

** Tweede Intifada: Tussen 2000 en 2004 doodde het Israëlische leger 5050 Palestijnen, waaronder 937 kinderen, verwondde er 50.000 en arresteerde er 104.000. Meer dan 80.000 dunam land (1 dunam = 1000 vierkante meter) werd met bulldozers verwoest, bijna 1,5 miljoen bomen werden vernield, 15.000 geiten en schapen werden gedood en 12.000 koeien, 70.000 huizen werden deels en 7500 huizen werden totaal verwoest.

En het gaat nog steeds door…

Israel to seize West Banker-owned land in occupied East Jerusalem

Ramallah: Concern has been expressed about moves by the Israeli occupation authorities to seize Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinians of occupied East Jerusalem currently own only 13 per cent of the land in that locality and the Israeli government is in the process of putting in place new rules under the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property, which will enable the occupying state to seize half of that remaining land under the pretext that the owners of those lands live in the nearby West Bank, and not in the holy city itself.

According to Khalil Tafakji, a community leader and head of the Maps Department of the Orient House, the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, 6.5 per cent of the land Palestinians have owned since before the 1967 Israeli occupation of the holy city will end up in the hands of the Israeli colonists for colony expansion or for new colonies.

“West Bank owners of lands in the occupied East Jerusalem will very shortly lose their properties in the holy city. Their properties have already been moved to the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property on the unofficial record and the government is just waiting for the right time to impose the drafted law to make it official and legal,” he told Gulf News.

“The ongoing negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the current regional conditions have made the Israelis postpone the official issuance of the law.”

Tafakji said that half the Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem are owned by West Bankers who have not been allowed in to the holy city, adding that the Israelis now claim that those owners are not entitled to the properties. It is believed that the occupation’s Custodian of Absentee Property will hand the land to individual Israeli colonists and to colonist organisations.

Tafakji explained that in 1967, the Israeli occupation government extended the boundaries of Jerusalem from 6.5 square kilometres to 72 square kilometres and thereby the Israeli government seized lands from 28 nearby Palestinian cities, towns and villages. “All the nearby empty areas were added to the boundaries of Jerusalem and that was the reason we have West Bank based owners of lands which are now within Jerusalem’s boundaries,” he said.

“Those West Bank owners have their own official ownership documents to prove beyond doubt their ownership of those lands,” he stressed.

Israel knows the owners of those lands and denies the living owners and their descendants any kind of entry permits to Israel and Jerusalem.

The colony of Har Homa, which lies on the Palestinian Jabal Abu Ghonaim, for example, was built on land belonging to the town of Beit Sahour and the Gilo colony was built on lands of Beit Jala.

Tafakji said that according to international law, both the West Bank and the occupied East Jerusalem are under the Israeli occupation and so the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property law cannot be applied against West Banker owners who are under occupation.

Palestinian owners of properties in occupied East Jerusalem have logged complaints with Israeli courts, but the pessimistic owners believe that those courts are merely tools of the Israeli government and will do no good for them.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

Settlers Contaminate Water Container near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, September 16, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Monday contaminated a water container used to store water for drinking and for agricultural purposes belonging to a resident of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, according to a local activist.

Coordinator of the committee against the apartheid wall, Ahmad Salah, told WAFA that settlers broke into the container, swam in it and also performed Jewish prayers.

He said that this is not the first attack by settlers against the village residents; settlers have been destroying and contaminating water wells while soldiers prevent farmers from building new wells in their land under the pretext that they need to obtain a permit first.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

Dia al-Azzawi’s “Sabra and Shatila Massacre”

 

[Detail of Dia al-Azzawi's [Detail of Dia al-Azzawi’s “Sabra and Shatila Massacre.”]

Earlier this year, London’s Tate Modern acquired “Sabra and Shatila Massacre” (1982-83), an epic mural-sized drawing by pioneering Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi. Sprawling as it is towering and engulfing, the artist began the massive work after news surfaced that between two and three thousand Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were strategically murdered in and around the refugee camps of southern Beirut in 1982. While creating “Sabra and Shatila Massacre,” al-Azzawi was also moved by Jean Genet’s “Four Hours in Shatila,” a written dispatch of the hell on earth that was the site of this civil-war era carnage, the violent details of which are impossible to take in without periodically searching for respite by turning away from the page.

Al-Azzawi recreates this frenetic energy in four large panels, establishing visions that, like Genet’s text, become immovable to the mind’s eye. Two vertical side rectangles frame a pair of larger horizontal scenes, and within these physical demarcations images are uncontained. A boot, two chairs, a plane, a “USA” missile, and barbed wire are interspersed between the ravaging expressionism of shaded forms and the darkened areas of nothingness that toss, eject, and dismember bodies until they are buried. There is no beginning or end to the composition but to the right and left of the center are two upright figures, gods of war who flank a netherworld that has already claimed its victims. Scant moments of color appear as though time has frozen into a mere memory: a ceaseless nightmare.

                       [“Sabra and Shatila Massacre” (1982-83). Copyright Dia al-Azzawi. Image courtesy of Tate Modern.]

Within a labyrinth of death and the mundane (the remnants of domestic structures), the artist is relentless in his indictment, what he refers to as “a manifesto of dismay and anger.” Areas of white, where the eye would normally rest in a monochromatic composition, ignite horror, become corpses. Instances of Cubism are employed not to convey the dynamic movement of form but as a system of measure through which to count out cyclical disaster.

At first, this dismay and anger took on a compulsory drive as he recalled the constrictive grounds of the Beirut neighborhood and began to draw:

I had at that time a roll of paper and, without any preparatory sketches, the idea for the work came to me. I tried to visualize my previous experience of walking through this camp, with its small rooms separated by a narrow road, in the 1970s. (Art Daily, July 5, 2012)

                                                 [Dia al-Azzawi in his Highgate studio, London (1983). Image courtesy of the artist.]

The resulting drawings were produced as micro components of a larger whole and covered the width of his London studio. These fragments (or vignettes, rather) are organized in a manner that is similar to the broken narrative structure of Genet’s writing on the subject — except that in al-Azzawi’s work there is no way out and no room for pause. When completed in 1983, the pieces were mounted onto stretchers and shown in a Kuwait gallery as part of the series We are not Seen, but Corpses, which included a set of copper engravings.

                         [Dia al-Azzawi at the opening of his 1983 solo exhibition in Kuwait. Image courtesy of the artist.]

In “Four Hours in Shatila” Genet interrupts graphic reports of the massacre by intermittently removing his focus from the bloodstained streets of Lebanon, withdrawing to romantic portrayals of Palestinian fedayeen in Jordan ten years prior as he escapes his own haunting and divides his account into a binary tale of “love” and “death:”

These two words are quickly associated when one of them is written down. I had to go to Shatila to understand the obscenity of love and the obscenity of death. In both cases the body has nothing more to hide: positions, contortions, gestures, signs, even silences belong to one world and to the other. (Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring 1983)

Although freed from grotesque accents, al-Azzawi’s figures are siphoned by that which inhibits the ambit of love, abjection. Genet describes the abject as he passes through catastrophe without specifically identifiying it, perhaps due to his propinquity to the aftermath of the mass killings:

In the middle, near them, all these tortured victims, my mind cannot get rid of this “invisible vision:” what was the torturer like? Who was he? I see him and I do not see him. He is as large as life and the only shape he will ever have is the one formed by the stances, positions, and grotesque gestures of the dead fermenting in the sun under clouds of flies.

The writer provides knowledge of the abject, the painter gives us the means of confronting that knowledge, what Aaron Kerner explains as the “visceral charge” of the rhetorical devices that are capable of deciphering the abject (Representing The Catastrophic, The Edwin Mellen Press: 2007).

The main springboard for Kerner’s study of how visual culture can lend to reckoning with unimaginable suffering and incomprehensible events is Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror (Columbia University Press: 1982), which outlines several types of abjection — all of which are rooted in primordial repression. Without delving into the depths of psychoanalysis that the latter utilizes to arrive at such definitions, abjection exists as neither subject nor object, an intangible but ever-present force that plunges reality into chaos, a realm in which reason is discarded: “that breakdown of clarity between what sustains life and the destruction of life, the boundary between life and death itself” (Kerner). It is the non-space that fuels, orders, and commits catastrophe.

For Kristeva, narcissism lies at the root of abjection and when it is swayed and untamed, the consequences are calamitous:

The abject is perverse because it neither gives up nor assumes a prohibition, a rule, or a law; but turns them aside, misleads, corrupts; uses them, takes advantage of them, the better to deny them. It kills in the name of life — a progressive despot; it lives at the behest of death — an operator in genetic experimentations; it curbs the other’s suffering for its own profit — a cynic (and a psychoanalyst); it establishes narcissistic power while pretending to reveal the abyss… Corruption is its most common, most obvious appearance. That is the socialized appearance of the abject.

There are political implications in exploring the presence of this non-space in so far as power, abjection, and catastrophe are intrinsically connected phenomena, an interdependent trinity, and in the modern history of the Arab world, it is an entity that has lurked over virtually every aspect of life.

Throughout his artistic career, which began in Baghdad in the 1960s, al-Azzawi has returned to such scenes as a quiet sage who treads through the deluge. What distinguishes this individual work, however, is the scale with which he brings forth the state of abjection that surrounds (and led to) massacre in order to oppose it. In lieu of focusing on its significance as a historical moment through realism, or the particulars of the crime, what appears is a “poetic release of drive energy,” to borrow a phrase from Kerner.

In retrospect, this energy had been building in al-Azzawi’s previous works. The Body’s Anthem (1978-79), a series of forty drawings depicting the deadly 1976 siege of the Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in northern Beirut, displays the heavily stylized forms that would guide his subsequent manifesto; and in an introduction to a collection of limited edition silk screen prints, the artist summarizes a theme that has driven his oeuvre:

The Body’s Anthem: pictures I chose of that siege. It is not a dirge, nor is it the document of a dark massacre — it is an expression that seeks to create a free memory persisting against oppression, until a time when it can exhaust oppression’s evil.

A time that will summon the blood of friends and brothers, hastening the return of the martyrs. When the nation will be bread clean of soil and blood. A space unhindered by black treachery and the nets of disguise. When feet will cross safely over beautiful times. And men will not sell their dreams. (Dar Al-Muthallath: 1980)

“Sabra and Shatila Massacre” is currently on view at the Tate Modern.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

Gaza students stage sit-in at Rafah crossing | #OpenRafahBorder Now!

 

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RAFAH, (PIC)– Dozens of Gaza students staged a sit-in at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Monday demanding opening the terminal in order to allow them to join their universities.

The Egyptian authorities have been closing the Rafah border terminal since last Wednesday, which exacerbated the suffering of the besieged Palestinians in the Strip especially the sick and the students.

Participants in the sit-in hoisted Palestinian and Egyptian flags along with posters demanding an end to the Gaza blockade and opening the Rafah crossing.

Mumen Baroud, a student, delivered a speech on behalf of the students asking the Arab and Islamic countries and free people of the world to intervene and break the “oppressive” siege on Gaza that has been in force for the past seven years.

Other citizens, whose residence permits and airplane tickets are about to expire, took part in the sit-in.

The Egyptian authorities have been opening the crossing on partial basis since early July after the ouster of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, leading to an increase in number of stranded travelers that amounted to thousands.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

Former EU leaders urge Ashton: Stand firm on Israeli settlement guidelines

 

Letter signed by 15 former EU leaders counters attempts by Israel and U.S. to scrap or delay the move to stop cooperating with firms in the settlements.

A group of 15 former senior European officials has urged the European Union not to soften or delay new settlement guidelines slated to take effect on January 1, and in particular to ensure they apply to the Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation program.

The letter, dated September 16, was sent to all EU foreign ministers by the European Eminent Persons Group, whose stated goal is promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace. The group is co-chaired by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, former German Deputy Foreign Minister Wolfgang Ischinger and former British Ambassador to the UN Jeremy Greenstock.

Its more prominent members include Javier Solana, who formerly served as EU foreign policy czar and NATO secretary-general, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the former European commissioner for external relations and Austrian foreign minister, former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, former Dutch Prime Minister Andreas Van Agt and former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans Van den Broek.

One particularly noteworthy signatory is former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who is considered relatively close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was granted a meeting with the premier when he visited Israel a few weeks ago.

“With great concern we have taken note of recent calls to delay, modify or even suspend the European Commission guidelines on funding of Israeli entities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” the letter began. “We urge you to uphold this commitment by supporting the guidelines and their full application by EU institutions, notably in regard to the ongoing negotiations about Israel’s participation in Horizon 2020.”

After noting that the guidelines reflect a longstanding EU position that the settlements are illegal under international law, the letter continued, “Their strict application serves to reiterate that the EU does not recognize and will not support settlements and other illegal facts on the ground … It is these facts on the ground, not the guidelines, which threaten to make a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible.”

The letter also argued that the guidelines’ publication in mid-July encouraged the Palestinians to agree to resume direct negotiations with Israel two weeks later. “If the EU were to delay or suspend the guidelines, or not fully apply them to the agreement with Israel on Horizon 2020, this could further undermine the Palestinians’ trust in the negotiation process and their ability to continue the talks,” it said. “In other words, delaying or suspending the guidelines is likely to undermine negotiations, not help them.”

Finally, it argued, the guidelines are the “minimum” the EU can do to uphold its own legislation and keep taxpayer funds from going to the settlements, so delaying or suspending them would “damage the EU’s credibility.”

The letter was written to assist the Palestinians’ counter-campaign against Israeli and American efforts to get the guidelines softened or delayed. Last week, United States Secretary of State John Kerry asked EU foreign ministers to delay implementing the guidelines so as not to undermine Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The guidelines forbid any EU grants, loans or prizes to Israeli entities with operations in the West Bank, Golan Heights or East Jerusalem. They also require any new agreement with Israel to state that these areas aren’t part of Israel, and therefore aren’t covered by the agreement.

Israel’s immediate concern is its current negotiations with the EU over participating in Horizon 2020. Participation would give Israeli researchers access to hundreds of millions of euros worth of funding. But Israel has said it can’t sign the agreement under the guidelines as they stand.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

US seeks to ‘weaken Syria against Israel’

Washington’s real purpose in reaching a deal with Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons is to “weaken Syria against Israel,” says an American political analyst.

“This agreement on chemical weapons is very incomplete because the United States has been using depleted Uranium. Israel has been using phosphorus. And, if they were truly against chemical weapons, then we should do all the way around,” said Paul Sheldon Foote, a professor of accounting at California State University, in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov clinched a deal over Syria’s chemical weapons in Geneva. Based on the agreement, Damascus has one week to provide international inspectors with detailed information on its chemical weapons stockpiles.

The talks in Geneva came after a proposal by Russia to Syria that the latter put its chemical weapons under international control. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem said on September 9 that his country “welcomes” the Russian offer.

Washington’s war rhetoric against Syria gained momentum on August 21, when the administration of US President Barack Obama claimed that over a thousand people had been killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds on the outskirts of Damascus.

Damascus has categorically rejected the allegations and even Obama’s top aide, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, has admitted that Washington’s claims are based on a “common-sense test” not any “irrefutable” evidence.

Based on a classified document from the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center obtained by WND, former director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare Yossef Bodansky suggested that the alleged chemical attack of August 21 near Damascus was perpetrated by the militants to provoke a US military intervention in the Middle Eastern country.

“In terms of this chemical agreement the whole purpose is to weaken Syria against Israel,” said Foote who is also a Vietnam War veteran.

Foote made the comments as a newly released report in a US professional journal, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, confirms that the Israeli regime possesses at least 80 operative nuclear warheads and has enough material to produce up to 190 more.

(Source / 16.09.2013)

AS UN CW INSPECTORS PRESENT THEIR REPORT, ASSAD REGIME DECLARES US/RUSSIA AGREEMENT “A VICTORY FOR SYRIA”

By Peter Clifford          ©             (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2/)

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

The UN weapons inspectors handed their report on events in Damascus on August 21st to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon yesterday, Sunday, and it was presented to members of the UN Security Council behind closed doors this morning, Monday.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Vladimir Claims the Peace Prize

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Ake Sellstrom Hands CW Report to UN General Secretary

The report has been made available this afternoon and confirms the use of Sarin:  HERE:

Syria acceded to the UN Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on 14th September and will therefore be required to comply with the terms of that treaty within 30 days.

Within 7 days Syria is required provide a list of where it holds chemical weapons and what they are.

The US estimates Syria has chemical weapons in 45 locations and both the US and Russia agree that the stockpile amounts to around 1,000 tonnes.

This stockpile is due, under the US/Russia framework agreement to be destroyed by the end of 2014.

But don’t hold your breath (no pun intended!).

The US agreed to destroy its 31,000 tonne stockpile of chemical weapons in 1997 – in 2013 it still has 3,000 tonnes left.

Some remain very skeptical about the whole agreement, the FSA even claiming that 20 Syrian Government trucks shipped chemical weapon making equipment to Iraq and also to Lebanon.

Certainly, the Syrian Government seems rather too pleased with the outcome of the US/Russian negotiations. Ali Haidar, the Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation, is reported to have told the Russian press that, “We welcome these agreements. On the one hand, they will help Syrians get out of the crisis, and on the other hand, they averted a war against Syria by removing the pretext for those who wanted to unleash one.”

“This is a victory for Syria”, he added, “Achieved thanks to our Russian friends.”

Many would like the US and Russia to go further and get Syria to sign treaties to ban the use of cluster bombs, personnel mines and incendiary bombs, all of which they continue to use.

Clearly disagreements remain on the interpretation of the existing chemical weapons agreement between Russia and the West.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Western Ministers Meet in Paris

A statement issued this morning, Monday, in Paris after a 3-way meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and President Hollande of France, said, “If Assad fails in time to abide by the terms of this framework, make no mistake, we are all agreed – and that includes Russia – that there will be consequences.”

This was immediately countered by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov, who is keen to convene a Geneva-2 peace conference on Syria, saying, “If for someone it is more important to constantly threaten… that is another path to wrecking completely the chances of calling the Geneva-2 conference.”

FSA FEARS THAT FAILURE BY USA TO TAKE MILITARY ACTION IS LIKELY TO DRIVE SOME OPPOSITION FIGHTERS TO THE SIDE OF THE EXTREMISTS:

The failure by the US to take military action against the Assad regime is of course seen by the FSA as a disaster and the fear is that many moderate fighters will be pushed towards joining the more aggressive and better funded extremist groups such as the Al-Nusra Front (ANF) and The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The London based defence analysis group IHS Jane’s estimates in its latest report that Opposition forces number around 100,000 but that they are now split into at least 1,000 separate groups.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Jihadist Fighter in Syria

Extreme Jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda, such as ANF and ISIL, number around 10,000 according to Jane’s and another 30,000 are thought to be hardline Islamists differing only in that they are concentrating on Syria rather than on the global Islamist fight.

You can read more HERE: 

The Islamists case, and that of the Opposition generally, continues to be damaged by horrific reports that they are no better than the Assad regime which they seek to replace.

ANF published an internet statement yesterday in which it claimed that it had killed 30 Alawites in the villages of Massudiyeh, Maksar al-Hissan and Jab al-Jerah in Homs province.

Al-Nusra “justified” its action saying it was in retaliation for the regime gas attack in East Ghouta near Damascus on August 21st – in reality their actions are nothing more than bloodthirsty executions and a war crime for which they should be punished.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed the attack, saying that at least 22 civilians were killed in Maksar al-Hissan alone, 4 of them aged over 80 and 4 children aged between 9 and 12. 5 Syrian Army soldiers were also reported killed.

The Jihadists withdrew after the attack and the villages are now thought to be back in Government hands.

Ahmad Tumeh, a moderate Islamist himself who is the newly Syrian National Coalition (SNC) appointed “prime minister” and leader of a new provisional Syrian Government (and whose recent appointment was completely overshadowed and missed in the press), pledged at the weekend to curb the influence of the extremist Al-Quaeda linked groups.

Tumeh, now the head of a 13 member “cabinet”, said that the Opposition  had to confront Al-Qaeda ideologically by emphasizing that democracy did not contradict Islam and deny the group popularity by restoring public services in rebel-held areas.

That will be easier said than done as the Jihadist groups make a point of moving into Opposition held areas after the FSA have liberated them and “generously” supplying food, money, even toys for the kids and other services to the local population.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Damaged Syriac Catholic Church in Homs

Michael Weiss interviewed, for NOW Syria, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Abboud who is a member of the FSA’s Supreme Military Command.

He rejected the lastest chemical weapons agreement, saying, “It will change nothing in reality …. We are not being killed by chemical weapons alone; rather, we are being killed using surface-to-surface missiles and explosive barrels”.

Abboud is 2nd in command to General Idriss, but also commander of the eastern front covering Deir Ezzor, Hasakah, and Raqqa provinces. Raqqah city, the only provincial capital held by the Opposition at present, is controlled by ISIL who control both the administration and supplying social services.

Abboud claimed however that the FSA control all military positions and that ISIL only hold checkpoints in liberated areas and are not prominent on the frontline. You can read more of this excellent in-depth interview, HERE:

ALMOST 2 MILLION SYRIAN CHILDREN WITHOUT SCHOOLING – VICTIM OF ATTEMPTED TALIBAN ASSASSINATION COMES FORWARD TO HELP:

Whoever is in charge whether it is Opposition or regime areas, millions in Syria continue to suffer.

The Assad regime boasted that 4.5 million school age students started their new school year in Syria yesterday, Sunday. But they don’t include the almost 2 million children between the ages of 6 and 15 who have dropped out of school attendance since the last school year began in 2012 because of displacement and violence.

http://www.petercliffordonline/syria-news

Injured Girl Hopes for Victory Soon

An estimated 4,000 schools in Syria, around one in five, have been damaged or destroyed, or are sheltering internally displaced families.

Some children are missing out on an education for a third year in a row.

The BBC has a video report on “a lost generation of school kids”, HERE:

In the Atman refugee camp in northern Aleppo province, near the Turkish border and the only refugee camp inside Syria, they don’t even have a school, just a tent with occasional maths lessons from a volunteer teacher.

Most aid agency workers are afraid to go there. Conditions are reported as terrible. Al Jazeera has a video report from Atman, HERE:

If Atman was not bad enough, watch this video of 1,300 people living with their children in a derelict underground garage in Lebanon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gX0xKCj9hrY

Lebanon estimates that by the end of 2013 nearly 550,000 school-aged Syrian children will be living in their country, outnumbering Lebanon’s own school-age-population by 250,000.

One extraordinary young lady trying to help them is Malala Yousufzai, who has pledged, in conjunction with the UK’s former prime minister Gordon Brown, to raise $500 million over the next 3 years to provide an education for Syrian children living in Lebanon.

Malala, just 16 herself, was shot and almost killed by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012 for advocating education for Muslim girls but since her recovery lives and goes to school in England.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Malala at the United Nations

Having spoken at the UN and been the winner of International Children’s Peace Prize for her dedication to education, Malala has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

You can support her international campaign in conjunction with A World At School, by signing the petition on Syria,HERE:

To raise awareness for her programme, Malala spoke via Skype with two young Syrian refugees, Zahra and Om Kolthoum Katou, in Lebanon who had been forced from their home in Aleppo.

“I totally support you,” she told them. “You are very brave. I believe that you will get your education, that you will go to school – and that no one can stop you.” (EDITOR: That we were all so brave to stand up like Malala)

MULTIPLE TANKS DESTROYED AND ARMY BASES OVERRUN AS FSA CONTINUES ITS CAMPAIGNS AGAINST IRANIAN LED ASSAD REGIME:

On the ground, there are reports that the Assad regime has lost control of the Deir Salman army base near Damascus and from the eastern suburbs of Hama city that the Opposition has captured the base of Brigade 66, destroying 2 T-72 tanks at the Abu Shafiq checkpoint and killing 50 Syrian Army personnel.

As one wit on Twitter put it, the “Assad Army has lost so many bases that pretty soon they’ll be sleeping in the Sheraton and Four Seasons”.

Also near Damascus, heavy fighting is reported near the base of Signal Regiment 81 not far from the International Airport road.

This video shows the Opposition (EDITOR: I am not quite sure where?) reputedly destroying a consignment of Assad’s weapons with a roadside bomb, HERE:

Opposition Fighters Becoming Ever More Resourceful

Opposition Fighters Becoming Ever More Resourceful

Another noticeable feature of the conflict recently, while the media has been in a frenzy over chemical weapons talks, is that there is a significant increase in the number of Assad’s tanks being destroyed over the last 2 months.

Not only that, but increasingly the models destroyed are the newer T-72s and T-80s.

The bigger problem for Assad is not so much the loss of these tanks, but the loss of experienced tank crews, who now know they are “sitting ducks” every time they go out on the frontline.

A direct hit on a tank, showering bullet like pieces of shrapnel on the crew trapped inside the cockpit, means that few survive. (EDITOR: My thanks to CJ for technical advice here).

This T-72 tank was destroyed this week in the Qalamoun mountains in the Damascus countryside using a KonKurs guided missile, HERE:

Additionally, the Opposition are becoming more and more inventive, creating new and effective weapons from their own resources rather than relying on an unresponsive world to help them.

There is a video of a new type of field cannon, HERE: and a sophisticated and accurate remote control rifle, HERE:

According to this video Opposition fighters have stormed another Syrian Army base in Quneitra province not far from the Israeli border, HERE:

There are also reports coming in from Turkey this afternoon that Turkish military jets have shot down a Syrian helicopter that has “violated Turkish airspace” over Antakya after repeating warnings not to do so.  The wreckage came down in Latakia in Syria, HERE:

In Deraa province, not far from Jordan, where the Opposition are particularly successful at present, reports say that fighters are targeting the regime base of Brigade 61 at Tel Al-Jabiah and simultaneously attacking 8 border posts 72,73,74,75,76,7,78 and 79 along the frontier.

Lastly, there has been much speculation over the last 2 years over the involvement of Iran in Syria. Reports coming out of Iran suggest that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is training thousands of Shia men from across the Middle East to become fighters at the Amir Al-Momenin (“Commander of the Faithful”) base 15 kilometres outside Tehran. You can read more, HERE:

And this video, apparently captured by Opposition fighters in Aleppo, appears to be part of an incomplete documentary and shows not only Iranian officers in charge of training but both punishing and directing Syrian soldiers. (EDITOR: Iran’s hold over Syria may be much greater than we think. Courtesy of Al Jazeera with English voice over):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Re6C_HhAOS0

UN Team’s Report Confirms Use of Sarin Gas in Syria

UN Team’s Report Confirms Use of Sarin Gas in Syria

A United Nations team probing the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria has found “clear and convincing evidence” that Sarin gas was used in an incident that occurred on 21 August in the Ghouta area on the outskirts of Damascus.

The report, delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday and made public today, concludes that on the basis of evidence obtained during the investigation of the Ghouta incident, “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in [Syria], also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”

The team, lead by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, also concludes in particular that the environmental, chemical and medical samples collected provide “clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-air- rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah, and Zamalka, in the Ghouta area of Damascus” on August 21.

The Report said that the weather conditions ensured that as many people as possible were injured or killed. Temperatures were falling between 2 am and 5 am, it said, which meant that air was not moving upwards but downwards towards the ground.

“Chemical weapons use in such meteorological conditions maximizes their potential impact as the heavy gas can stay close to the ground and penetrate into lower levels of buildings and constructions where many people were seeking shelter,” the report said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will present the report to the General Assembly.

Click here to download the full UN report.

(Source / 16.09.2013)